Violent attack captured on video helps SPCA prosecute man for beating his dog
A Canterbury man captured on video beating his dog with a plank of wood has been successfully prosecuted by SPCA in the Christchurch District Court today.
The dog, a bull mastiff, was found to have suffered bruising and internal injuries as well as significant distress.
The defendant pleaded guilty and was today sentenced to 150 hours’ community work, a $1,500 fine payable to SPCA and disqualified for three years from owning dogs.
The distressing incident occurred in September last year, when a witness heard a commotion and saw the defendant raising a plank of wood above his head in a neighbouring back yard. The object, later identified as a wooden plank, was brought down with significant force onto a dog yelping loudly in pain. The dog was later identified as Bolo.
The Police attended that evening, and the next day SPCA Inspectors executed a search warrant. They seized Bolo, a plank of wood with blood on it, and a large splinter of wood.
When Bolo was examined by a veterinarian he was resistant to the full range of motion in his shoulders, had a bleeding wound on his face below his right eye and a puncture wound on his lower right lip pushing into a tooth, which needed sutures.
Tests showed Bolo had elevated levels of creatine kinase in his blood, reflecting a tremendous amount of muscle damage at the time of the trauma. X-rays also showed the area around Bolo’s kidneys was likely to have been subjected to physical trauma.
The vet concluded Bolo’s suffering was both physical and mental and the wounds on Bolo’s head and mouth would have been extremely painful due to the large number of nerves there. She also added that Bolos size and robust bone structure, being a giant breed dog, likely protected him from more serious injuries.
When interviewed, the defendant agreed that he has taken things too far on the night of the incident. He said that Bolo had got through a gate and was trying to have a fight with another dog, which stressed the defendant out and he “lost it” with Bolo, and he hit him twice.
SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen says meting out violence to animals is never appropriate, and it is particularly devastating in this case due to the sustained mental and physical pain Bolo endured.
“When an animal is displaying signs of unwanted behaviour, physical punishment is not the answer. Instead, an owner should train their dog to respond to positive reinforcement of good behaviours, use lots of praise and have patience with their animal."
The vet opined that this kind of incident caused Bolo great distress because of the abuse coming from the most trusted person in his environment.
Ownership of Bolo has been surrendered into the permanent care of SPCA and he is now available for adoption.